Posts Tagged ‘Horrorclix’


From the painting desk #3

May 10, 2010

Since it’s over a year from the previous one, I figured I’d resurrect this series of posts. As I posted earlier, my inspiration for miniatures is back with a vengeance, and the results are already showing. Unsurprisingly, I’ve been painting stuff from my Aliens/Predator/Marines project, and here they are. In colour!

Click for a larger version

I’ve had these HorrorClix Aliens half finished for ages, meaning they’ve been based and sprayed black. The required very little work to finish. A couple of layers of drybrushing, some black ink, glue for Alien gunk effects, a coat of gloss varnish and what do you know, three more Xenos to fill those motion trackers. The HorrorClix Aliens are very nice for the painter. They could basically be used as is, but with a little work you can make them even nicer. They’re the only models that I don’t dull down with a matt varnish after gloss varnishing.

I also started on a new batch of Colonial Marines. I wanted to recreate the look of the troopers from Aliens, so went hunting for reference material. Turns out that the net is filled with movie stills and people that are into movie props and cosplaying, so I had a lot of stuff to work with.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

"We've got movement!"

I think I nailed it pretty well, and overall I’m really satisfied with how the model turned out. I even made an effort to get the motion detector right. There’s a motion blip there, probably just a little girl. The model is sculpted by Mark Copplestone and can be found in the Copplestone Castings Future War range, in the pack FW22.

On this model I tried some simple weathering effects, so the bare metal you see on the armor is painted on to represent chipped and scratched paint.

The next marines are already on the painting desk and well on their way. Here we go again.


First Contact

May 8, 2010

I’m back from my little UK tour, and I’m happy to say that my uninspired mood towards miniatures has pretty much disappeared. Oh, I knew it would but it’s always a happy event.

I finally received my copy of Space Hulk, and proceeded to test the rules first by gaming solo and then inviting a few friends over for a game. The result? A very fun night spent blasting Xenomorphs and ripping Colonial Marines apart. The rules were easy and quick to pick up, and we were gaming in no time even with little to no previous Space Hulk experience. While it’s basically a two player affair, the game lent itself well to three-way gaming, as there are quite a few missions with two squads of marines and one player controlling the Genestealers, or Aliens in our case. We played using the Colonial Marines and Aliens detailed a few posts back.

With the corridor ahead on fire, a marine has time for a quick breather, not to mention death

One thing we really enjoyed was the movie-like feel to the game. The air was thick with Aliens quotes before long, and small fragments of narrative started forming. As the gun on a marine firing on overwatch jammed and he was soon after nailed by an Alien, we could just imagine the few seconds of terror experienced by our little imaginary friend. Such cinematic moments were frequent, as the Marines were in many games taken out one by one, either by luck or simply by way of numbers. Space Hulk’s rules capture the imagery and feel of the Alien quadrilogy – part two especially – beautifully. The rules also present the Genestealers as terrifying in close combat, capable of easily tearing through a marine. We observed that this is even more fitting for an Alien scenario, as there really is no doubt about who the favourite is in a hand to hand encounter.

Despite his overwatch, a CM sergeant is about to become the evening's white meat of choice

In addition to the cinematic feel and quickness of play, another thing in favour of Space Hulk is its unpredictability. This doesn’t mean that the games are totally random, but simply that you can never be quite sure that the plan you’ve crafted is going to work. Guns will jam, creatures just will not die, a marine will actually win a close combat encounter and so on. This leaves room for – and indeed forces – the tactician to actually think ahead a bit and prepare to cope with surprise situations. And this means the game becomes actually pretty hard to master, especially considering the 3 minute time limit the marine player has. All this makes for a very entertaining game with a high replay value.

"They're coming outta the goddamn walls!"

One thing that I tend to forget while concentrating on the modelling aspect of miniatures is that gaming is actually really fun once you get down to it. A couple of good friends, a ton of snacks and a few solid games with painted miniatures make for an excellent night. A reminder like this is really good every once in a while. It’s also great for motivation, since something is actually coming out of all of those big unfinished projects. In this case it was a night of gaming and spending time with friends, which left us all yearning for more. Not bad at all!

I’m also happy to report that the game prompted me to finish three HorrorClix Aliens, that’ve been half painted for ages, and I’m preparing to paint the remaining seven. As Ferro puts it in Aliens: We’re in the pipe, five by five.


Just another bughunt

April 11, 2010

As you may have noticed, DotL has been very quiet lately. This is mainly due to real life stuff, such as work and doing research for my Master’s thesis (on RPG’s, no less!). This means I’ve not had the time nor the energy to work on new miniatures, so I’m going to show you something a bit older.

Ever since I could whip up the courage to watch them as a pre-teen, I’ve loved the Alien and Predator franchises. With the exception of the rather silly Alien: Resurrection and the god-awful AVP films, they’re all among my favourite scifi movies. In fact, I just recently had a solid dose of Aliens as I watched all of the four films back to back and then went to Tampere a few days later to see a wonderful H.R. Giger exhibition. All this has lead me back to an older miniatures project of mine, namely Aliens vs. Predator.

This project has been once of those that seem to last forever and not really progress a lot. I was actually doing pretty fine on it, but then I really got into zombie miniatures a lot and consequently my little critters have been gathering dust since. Maybe doing a post on these might help things to get going again? One can always hope. I’ve also been thinking about picking up the new limited edition Space Hulk, although I’d probably have to pay an arm and a leg for it. From what I’ve heard, it just might be worth it, though.

That’s enough idle chitchat, on with the minis! Sorry about the inconsistent lighting in the pics, was in a bit of a hurry.

There are different possibilities for Alien miniatures, but I ended up using what I think are hands down the best ones available: HorrorClix Aliens. While they’re now out of production, I picked up a few boxes cheaply off the ‘Nets a year or so back so I have around twenty or so. Like all HC stuff, they come pre-painted and are actually quite usable straight from the box. I wanted them a bit more black and glossy, so played around with washes and drybrushing and painted a gloss varnish over the end result. They came out lovely, I think. I used some glue to simulate the resin-like goo the creatures secrete, and liked that end result as well. The Aliens are  a bit on the large side, but then so was the original creature in the first film.

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For Predators I went with Copplestone Castings. While I think they’re the best stuff available at the moment (and back when I bought them), Heresy’s new Hurn is pretty tempting. And while Ainsty’s INAPs are definitely showing their age as sculpts, the idea of clear resin figures is excellent. Also, the name always brings a smile to my face, as INAP=It’s Not A Predator.

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No alien monster would be happy without heavily armed futuristic humans to decapitate, maim and/or impregnate. Again, enter Mark Copplestone and his wonderful scifi troopers available through Copplestone Castings, em4 and Mirliton. I went for a generic urban camo on the regular troopers, while the beret wearing guys in red and black are something like corporate security or special forces.  Actually, they remind me for reasons unknown of the Omni Corp troopers from the classic game Laser Squad. Maybe that’s how I always imagined them.

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Click for a larger version

Actually just writing this post makes me want to finish this project. And maybe buy Space Hulk.


My zombie horde

March 1, 2010

For a zombie blogger and miniatures collector, I have surprisingly few painted zombies, only around 50 or so. Since I was asked to show more of my painted stuff, I figured I’d put up my horde along with some closeups of my favourites.

Here’s my “horde” in full. 50+ models don’t look like much, do they? At the moment they’re a mix of  GW plastic zombies, GW plastic Catachans, Mega Miniatures, Recreational Conflict, Ral Partha and Copplestone Castings. Additionally there’s one model each from Heroquest, GW Imperial Guard, Warzone, HorrorClix, and HeroClix.

Click for a very large version

I already showed some of my favourites in the post on GW plastic conversions, but there are others as well. Here’s a selection:

The Zombie Patient is a repaint of a HorrorClix model. It’s quite an improvement, don’t you think? Sorry for the horrible quality on the comparison original, I had to snatch it from an older pic and resize it. The promotion picture for the model was far better looking than what I received. Also note the change in lighting. White daylight bulb on the left.

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Zombie Kids are always fun and creepy. The following three are all from Mega Miniatures. The freehand on all models rather shows that I’m not really that focused on neat painting on zombies, they’re very much test pieces to try stuff on. These ended up looking nice enough for the tabletop, though.

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The Chewed Up Shambler from Recreational Conflict is a nice model. I usually give my zombies fast, rough paintjobs and it shows. Here, however, I wanted to try and paint a zombie to the standard that I use on other models, and I’m very happy with the result. If I only had the time and patience to do this on all zombies!

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The Classic is an old Grenadier mini – still available through Mirliton – from the 80s, making it probably as old young as I am. I started my gaming with Dungeons & Dragons (or actually Miekka ja Magia, the first Finnish RPG, which was basically a simplified D&D) with my big brothers, and this also introduced me to miniatures. This Frankensteiny zombie dates back to those days, and it was a moment of great nostalgy for me to paint him. The model show its age, but is still one of my favourites.

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The Neo-Nazi is a conversion based on a HeroClix thug, with a GW zombie hand and head, and the other arm cut off. Simple, characterful and effective in my opinion.

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The Rambo is a GW Catachan jungle fighter. The left leg has been cut up and repositioned and the head glued on in a zombie-ish angle. The hanging left arm adds to the effect. The right wrist that he’s missing was used in the soldier zombie conversion shown in the previous post. This model is a nice example of how simple it’s to make zombies out of other models, especially if they’re plastic. With very little work you could transform a full box of plastic troopers into zombies with limb repositioning.

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The Officer is a metal GW Imperial Guard model from the Last Chancers box set. The left hand was holding a massive weapon, so I cut the wrist off and replaced it with a plastic one from the Catachan set. The model ended up looking like it’s reaching for someone, and the bandages and torn clothing only enhance the zombie appearance. The Officer is another example of a zombie that I spent a bit more time painting as I liked the model too much to just give him a basic zombie slap-on.

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The Jogger and The Beach Bum are my own sculpts, so I naturally gave them more attention than my usual zombie fare. While the sculpts aren’t that great, I think they look very nice painted and certainly don’t look out of place in my horde. The feeling of painting metal that you’ve sculpted yourself, man that was cool.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

I’ve got plenty more to paint, and I’m slowly starting to attack my backlog. Anyway, here’s what I have managed to do so far. I’d be happy to hear your comments, as usual.


HorrorClix zombies – a review

July 2, 2009

From Wikipedia:

HorrorClix is a collectible miniatures game by WizKids Inc., and was released August 30, 2006. The game’s tagline is “wicked fun.” The product was discontinued when WizKids owner Topps shut down the company.

The “Clix” series of games features pre-painted plastic miniatures. Each game piece comes with a special dial base – which makes the clicking sound from which the games take their name – containing the gaming stats of the piece. The painting standard on the models varies massively, with some sporting a good amount of detail and shading while others are crudely painted in block colours. The plastic used is softer than that in most plastic wargaming miniatures and I’ve heard of it being spoken of as vinyl, which just might be the case.

Every now and then discussion sparks up on miniature forums on the suitability of Horrorclix zombies for 28mm gaming. Arguments are varied: they’re too big, they’re horribly painted, they’re dirt cheap, they’re wonderful, they’re awful, they’re too soft, the clicky bases are a pain and so on. Reviews exist, but I haven’t been able to find anything detailed enough so decided to tackle the thing myself.

For this review I picked the eight Horrorclix zombies that I’ve bought. A few others exist, but from the pictures I found them rather unappealing and skipped ordering them. It has to be mentioned, that there are a few nice ones missing from this review, as they are somewhat rare and thus pricey. As mentioned above, all the models come on clicky bases, which most gamers will probably want to remove. This is easily done by sliding a sharp craft knife under the miniature’s foot and either slicing through or popping the foot free of the base by gently twisting the blade. The models are pre-painted, but I don’t really feel that it’s necessary to strip them of their paint. Just give them a new basecoat or paint over the existing paintjob, both should work. Or if you don’t fancy yourself much of a painter, the models can be used as-is, as they have been painted to a sufficient gaming standard.

Horrorclix minis are a bit larger than 28mm, being closer to 33mm in scale. This doesn’t really bother me, as once the models are based like the others in my collection you don’t really pay much attention to the small difference in scale. Size comparison pics later on in the review. I have based the Clix on standard 25mm round slottabases.

Model # 1 – Zombie Patient is an elderly male in a bloodied hospital gown. He’s missing his left hand altogether, while a large piece of skin is missing from his right arm, exposing muscles beneath. There’s also damage to his face, as he has also lost his lips and most of his nose, although the sculpting does give him a bit of a lampreyish look. The hand and feet are a bit thick and he doesn’t really have a wrist even on the remaining arm. He has a nice shuffling zombie walk going on, and the hospital look adds to his creepiness.

Model #2 – Undead Vendor is an awful miniature, and in a bad way. The concept is fun, a vendor like those you see in baseball and handegg games and the like, undead but still selling his wares. That’s where the fun ends, though. The anatomy appears off, with spindly legs and arms and malformed hands, the pose is something you’d see in a disco for the aesthetically challenged and the hand holding the bottle doesn’t look like it’s holding anything. Instead it’s like a bottle has been glued to an open hand. The vendor’s tray has a severed hand and forearm alongside the bottles, which might be considered humorous.

Model #3 – Zombie Strongman is a positively huge fellow, standing tall at roughly 40mm. In addition to a sweet moustache he has a pair of shorts on, and is bound with padlocked chains, through which coils of entrails pour out. Half of the strongman’s right calf is missing, exposing the bone, and he has various wounds about his body. He holds aloft the severed one-armed torso of some hapless victim, again trailing guts. I love this model. He oozes raw, brutal strength uncontained by any conventional intelligence. He towers over 28mm miniatures in a good sense and in keeping with the scale. Just imagine a huge pro wrestler turned into a zombie.

Model #4 – Zombie Lawyer might be considered the embodiment of poetic justice. He’s wearing a tattered brown suit and has a sharp piece of metal – a crossbow bolt? – sticking through his right thigh. Bones and muscles show through in several places, and the left ankle is completely twisted around. The model is in a nice, classic shuffling stance and all in all is a nice addition to your horde.

Models #1-4

Models #1-4

Model #5 – Zombie Trooper is in my opinion the pick of the bunch, being a great sculpt of a good concept. While he lacks major visible damage, his emaciated features and classic pigeon-toed stance are a sure giveaway of his state. The trooper still carries his MP5 SMG, and wears body armour complete with a helmet and com-link set. The paintjob is better than average, too. I could use this model straight from the package, but I’ll paint him to match the SWAT survivors that I have.

Model #6 – Zombie Cop is another unfortunate public servant to fall to the undead menace. His clothes are torn, he’s missing half of his face exposing the skull, his right ankle has been chewed to the bone and coils of entrails pour out from his stomach. His sidearm is still securely in its holster, suggesting that he was attacked and taken completely by surprise. Again, a pigeon-toed classic stance and all in all a nice model.

Model #7 – Hardhat Zombie is a solid blue collar worker wearing what I suppose is something like a track jacket and a pair of jeans along with the eponymous yellow hardhat. His entire right arm is missing, as well as his left shoe. These combined with the pigeon-toes, vacant stare and tongue lolling out make him a prime example of a zombie. The sculpt is fine, and the model is an overall good effort.

Model #8 – Zombie Ventriloquist is a refreshingly twisted concept. I’ve always loved characterful and creepy special zombies, such as Romero’s zombie clowns and Dixieland band, Studio Miniatures’ zombie chicken mascot and so forth. It’s no surprise, then, that the zombie ventriloquist with his classic puppet and worn and torn suit is right up my alley. The model is almost bald and somewhat hunched, suggesting an elderly gentleman, and as a nice touch he has a wedding band on his left hand. While there is no major damage, the numerous holes, nicks and cuts in both his suit and his skin imply that he has been undead for quite a while. Buy this model, he’s excellent.

Models #5-8

Models #5-8

And here are two size comparison shots. Unfortunately I forgot to put in a Mega Miniatures zombie, look here for comparison.

From left to right: Games Workshop, HorrorClix, Hasslefree, Copplestone Castings, HorrorClix

From left to right: Games Workshop, HorrorClix, Hasslefree, Copplestone Castings, HorrorClix

From left to right: Games Workshop, HorrorClix, Recreational Conflict, Studio Miniatures, HorrorClix

From left to right: Games Workshop, HorrorClix, Recreational Conflict, Studio Miniatures, HorrorClix

HorrorClix zombies can be bought from various sources, with many gaming stores selling single miniatures for a pittance. Most of mine cost well under a euro apiece from Miniature Market, which I found to be one of the best retailers available in terms of stock, price and shipping costs. Do a Google search for “HorrorClix singles” for plenty of dealer options.

Overall verdict: HorrorClix zombies are very nice miniatures for a cheap price. There are people who scoff at pre-painted plastic, but it’s entirely their loss when it comes to these, as any zombie miniature collector would do well to check these out. As the comparison pic shows, though, the HorrorClix zombies are a bit taller than your average 28mm heroics and giants compared to true 28mm, so scale purists will want to avoid these. The pre-painted part will be a burden or heaven-sent gift to some, depending on painting skill. Do note that the quality of the sculpts and the paintjobs varies immensely, with others like the trooper being mighty fine and others complete rubbish.

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